There was no shortage of action during round six of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, Poland’s HERO Challenge. From high-speed motocross prologue qualification to nighttime superenduro action, it was all capped off with a physically demanding extreme cross country, which put the 340 competitors through their paces!
Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young grabbed the limelight with a stunning victory in the sandy terrain, but we also saw rising Polish star Dominik Olszowy make his mark too, along with an already red-hot championship battle heating up even further.
With a lot to digest, here’re some of the highlights from HERO Challenge that you may have missed…
Dominik Olszowy Shines At Home
If ever there is a time to shine, it’s at your home round of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. Polish youngster Dominik Olszowy did exactly that at HERO Challenge. With some blisteringly fast prologue times, he won the morning action by over four seconds from Billy Bolt. Fourth in Sunday’s main race was an excellent result, but it could have been so much more. A broken clutch perch, which cost him time in the pits when he stopped for a quick repair, left him playing catch up. Finishing an eventual 50 seconds behind third placed Manuel Lettenbichler shows that Dominik could have placed third, or even higher!
Poland does SuperEnduro!
In case you needed reminding, Poland does SuperEnduro really, really well. The action and atmosphere on Saturday evening was electric as the top-27 riders from the morning Prologue went head-to-head through a series of eliminator races in downtown Dąbrowa Górnicza. The Polish fans showed up in their droves too, ensuring an incredible night of racing.
Winners Are Grinners
With his win in Poland, Wade Young gained ground on both Billy Bolt and Manuel Lettenbichler in the 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship title chase. Young was on fire come finals day at HERO Challenge, muscling his Sherco around the insanely rough and sandy course with ease. Clearly in the zone, the South African grew stronger with each passing lap. Now 10 points behind championship leader Bolt, he will be looking for another strong performance at the penultimate round in Spain in the hope of shaking things up even more.
Taddy’s Injury Woes
It’s not been the best of seasons for Taddy Blazusiak and injury woes again plagued him in Poland. The Hard Enduro legend has been suffering with shoulder troubles for a while and more often than not has been pushing through the pain barrier. It was awesome to see him light it up in the short SuperEnduro battles to get second, but three hours was a stretch too far on Sunday and he called time early on. Rest up Taddy, come back strong!
The Title Fight
With two rounds to go, the championship fight is pretty much even-stevens. Entering HERO Challenge one point behind Manuel Lettenbichler, Billy Bolt left it one point ahead. Billy and Mani look likely to take the title bout down to the chequered flag at the final round in GetzenRodeo next month. But before they do, it’s the 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro. Another event that will play to both rider’s strengths, a strong result there for either rider could produce some essential breathing room ahead of the final round in Germany.
Don’t forget, the 26-minute Recap of HERO Challenge will air on Red Bull TV from this Saturday, September 18.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with the penultimate round of the season, Spain’s 24MX Hixpania Hard Enduro on October 1-3.
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship standings (after 6 of 8 rounds)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 70pts
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 69pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 60pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 48pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 44pts
6. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 33pts
7. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 28pts
8. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 26pts
9. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 21pts
10. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 21pts
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar
Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares – Portugal, May 7/8/9
Round 2: Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Austria, June 3/4/5/6
Round 3: Abestone Hard Enduro – Italy, July 10/11
Round 4: Red Bull Romaniacs – Romania, July 27/28/29/30/31
Round 5: Red Bull TKO – USA, August 13/14/15
Round 6: HERO Challenge – Poland, September 11/12
Round 7: Hixpania Hard Enduro – Spain, October 1/2/3
Round 8: GetzenRodeo – Germany, October 29/30